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To build a digital society

The digital society is one of the three major digital transformation areas specified in the “Implementation Plan for Deepening Construction of Digital Zhejiang”. To improve the quality of new urbanization, it is necessary to take smart city construction as the guide and use digital technology to overcome barriers in new urbanization.

Improving the quality of new urbanization

The “maximum one visit service procedure” reform has promoted the construction of digital government, while the prosperity of the information economy is leading the development of the digital economy. The venturous spirit of reform is also reflected in the construction of digitalized new urbanization.

The construction of the digital society is a vivid practice of "people-centered" development philosophy. This year's government work report pointed out that "fundamentally speaking, market vitality and social creativity stem from the enthusiasm of hundreds of millions of people." As our development is for the people and by the people, we should think about the people and rely on the people whatever we do. The construction of the digital society is to update the concept, the means, the content, and the entity in the new urbanization construction. Digital technology is the creation of the people. To use it in the new urbanization construction is to enable the people to better enjoy the benefit of technology, share the fruits of development, and integrate into the process of self-management and self-service. The driving force for the reform and development of Zhejiang was from the people, and the practice of the digital society in Zhejiang has always been for the people and by the people. Without the participation of the people, the construction of digital society would be pointless. Only when it embraces the people can the digital society be prosperous.

The construction of digital society is an innovative practice of Zhejiang to explore “co-construction and sharing”. As proposed in this year’s government work report, new urbanization construction needs “flexible governance and refined services”, which means “sharing”. The essence of this is "sharing” and it is also where the difficulty lies. What the digital society tries to solve is "sharing." The people of Zhejiang actively embrace the new era, new technologies and new ways, and creatively apply them to new urbanization construction to crack the hard nut of insufficient cooperation between the government, the market and the society, so as to hand in a satisfactory answer sheet for "co-construction, co-governance and sharing" by building a digital society.

Digital society construction is a transformational practice for public services and social governance. Traditional organizations assume two major functions in the social sphere, providing public services to the public and implementing social management. The new urbanization also faces these two major functions. The construction of digital society is a historical transformation in which digital technology plays a central role. To this end, the Zhejiang Provincial Government has put forward two overall requirements:“intelligent public services” and “integrated social governance”, and further subdivided the applications into ten aspects: city construction, education, medical care, transportation, cultural tourism, employment, poverty alleviation, pension, public safety and rural services. In the final analysis, the digital society construction in the new urbanization is not a mechanical change of the old structures with new forms, but a historical leap from the old mechanism to the new technology.

Overcoming barriers with digital technology

In order to promote new urbanization, Zhejiang actively seeks change to explore the construction of digital society. The core of the difficult problem is to break the institutional barriers with the spirit of reform and use digital technology to give high-quality technical support to Zhejiang's new urbanization construction. Digital technology is not a panacea, but it is a golden key to unlocking many barriers in the new urbanization construction.

First, it can overcome the resource barriers between the government, the market and the society. As this year's Government Work Report said: "We must handle the relationship between the government and the market and rely on reform and opening up to stimulate the vitality of the market." The new type of urbanization is based on huge investment on hardware. To avoid the “govern-all” of the government, we must broaden the channels and draw resources from the market and the society. That means we have to turn information into digits, turn digits into resources, let resources generate benefits, and let the benefits feedback the community. For example, we can use digital technology to manage the community parking lot, making it accessible to the public beyond the rush hour through an APP. This is to change time for space, space for resources, resources to help the community. We can also provide the data generated by the community’s access control system to social organizations and companies which serve the elderly, children, and migrants. By the principle of co-construction and sharing, the consumers and enterprises are both the beneficiaries and the investment entities. We can issue policies to install digital facilities in new residential quarters.

Second, it can overcome organizational barriers between government departments, and between government and enterprises. The core of digital technology lies in its "huge" volume, and the core of its hugeness lies in its inter-connection. To construct a digital society in the new urbanization, we must remove the "digital barriers" between the government departments. We must sort out the existing data resources of the Party committees, governments, and public groups, classify data resources on the principle of security, and clarify the quantity, type, and characteristics of “information islands”. We should also have the data integrated across different departments. We must also remove the "digital barriers" between the government and enterprises. We should actively use laws, regulations, and policies to overcome barriers between government and software development companies, to clarify the boundaries between data management rights and ownership, between the different classifications of data, and between the ownership of the source codes and rights to use them. We should clarify government responsibility for applying data and regulate government in using data, so as to protect the legitimate rights of the enterprises for the data products.

Third, it can overcome functional barriers for the residential community. In the focus areas of urban governance and floating population management, Zhejiang has a good foundation for digital technology applications. Zhejiang has also set up some pilot future communities in urban and rural communities. To construct a digital society in the new urbanization, we should break the boundaries of the communities, and remove the functional barriers between the grassroots blocks. In other words, we should use digital technology to connect the community to the outside, and make unified overall planning, and form a pattern of urbanization featuring uniformity. This means we should use the mature experience and high-quality resources of the “grids” to facilitate community governance, and mobilize the living forces in the community to cooperate with the “grids”. Digital technology as a means could not do without people. By connecting the grids in and out of the community, we can achieve the integration of various new urbanization projects.


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